Author Archives: buildingbeginnings

Annual lecture

Saturday,  16 November 2019

We were delighted to welcome back Dr Kate Croft to deliver our annual lecture ‘Women of Excellent Understanding: The Wives and Daughters of the Lunar Society‘. The talk looked at some of the Lunar Society wives and daughters to consider the role they played in their husbands’ businesses as well as their scientific investigations and philosophical thought. We learned about Mary Priestley, Honora Edgeworth, Sally Wedgwood and her daughter Sarah, and the Peggy and Ann, the two wives of James Watt. Kate’s clear presentation of her research left us in no doubt that these women most certainly did play an important role.

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Visit to Chillington Hall

Tuesday,  20 August 2019

We enjoyed a fascinating and informative guided tour of Chillington Hall and gardens, a cream tea on the terrace in glorious sunshine, followed by a tractor ride to the lake to enjoy Capability Brown’s landscaping and ‘eye-catcher’ architectural features in the park. The Hall has been the home of the Giffard family for over 800 years; the present Georgian house is the third to have occupied the site.

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Visit to Pitchford Hall

Wednesday,  10 July 2019

Described as Britain’s finest half-timbered house, Pitchford Hall was owned by the Colthurst family for more than 500 years before being sold in 1992. Now on the ‘at Risk’ register, the house has been bought back by Rowena Colthurst and her husband, who are embarking on the massive task of saving it, following 25 years of neglect. The house is named after a natural pitch well in the grounds. Prince Rupert hid from the Roundheads in the priest-hole here during the Civil War and Princess (later Queen) Victoria played in the Tudor-style treehouse.

We had a very good visit. We were split into four groups each with our own guide who were very knowledgeable and gave us a very detailed view of the house and its history.  Tea and cake afterwards was delicious.

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AGM and visit to Shrewsbury School library, archive and chapel

Shrewsbury School Chapel

Thursday,  6 June 2019

We were delighted to be able to hold our Annual General Meeting in the Moser Library building at Shrewsbury School. This was followed by a guided tour of the very special Taylor Library kindly hosted by the Taylor Librarian and Archivist Dr Robin Brooke-Smith and his assistant Naomi Nicholas.  We also saw items from the school archive and its collection of water colours in the gallery of the Moser Library where we enjoyed afternoon tea. Our tour concluded with a visit to the school chapel built in 1882.

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Coleham’s industrial history talk and a tour of Coleham Pumping Station

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Local historian and our newsletter editor Andrew Pattison presented a very informative overview of the industrial history of Coleham at the Barnabas Centre which was an excellent introduction to our tour of Coleham Pumping Station. The gentlemen volunteers at the Pumping Station demonstrated their enthusiasm and expert knowledge in guiding us round the building and describing the impressive machinery which was surprisingly immaculate. Electric motors in lieu of steam enabled us to see some action which added to the sense of wonder at the ingenuity of the design. An excellent afternoon enjoyed by 30 people.

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Visit to Shrewsbury’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

Saturday, 23 March 2019

We enjoyed a delightful and informative afternoon at Shrewsbury Cathedral discovering how the Roman Catholic faith was persecuted and later emancipated in both a national and county perspective. Helen Haynes provided an overview of the key developments and the records that are available at Shropshire Archives. Father Phillips described the history of the building and how it has developed since it was built in 1856, and led us on a tour of the cathedral.

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Annual Lecture 2018 – Shrewsbury Foundling Hospital

Saturday, 24 November 2018

We were delighted to welcome Dr Kate Croft from the University of Birmingham to deliver our annual lecture: ‘Healthy and Expedient’: Childcare and Charity at the Shrewsbury Foundling Hospital 1759-1772 

The Foundling Hospital in London is well-known as an example of eighteenth-century philanthropy and childcare. What is less well-known is the involvement of several branch hospitals that were set up in during the time known as ‘General Reception’. One of these branch hospitals was based in the Midlands, at Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Kate’s talk looked at the history of the Shrewsbury Foundling hospital, its relationship with Thomas Coram’s London hospital, and the lives of children who lived there.

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